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Bike "feel"(3 posts)

Bike "feel"nodima
Apr 26, 2002 9:45 AM
I have a question about bike "feel". Disclaimer: I have not ridden many road bikes for extended periods of time. A couple mile test ride is too short.

Two bikes
2000 Specialized Allez A1 w/Tiagra
2000 Specialized Allez Elite w/Ultegra
Both are the same size and are stock with all original parts and no upgrades.

My wife and I were on a ride recently and decided to switch bikes. We could really feel a difference between the two bikes, the Elite felt smoother, and did not have a "buzzy" feel like the A1 did. Both bikes are stock, w/alum forks, but I understand the Elite has a butted frame. The wheelsets are quite similar but probably better on the Elite.

I started wondering how much of the difference we felt is due to the frame and how it transmits vibration vs the smoothnes of the hub bearings. Next we plan to switch wheelsets to try to ascertain this. I have read a lot about the relative differences between materials and don't want to rehash that, but I started wondering how much smoother another aluminum bike might be at a higher price point.

How much of a difference a carbon fork would make? I really like fit of the Allez Elite, and do not see much of a reason to buy a new ride at this time.

Any thoughts on this? Apologies in advance if these are dumb questions.

a few linksDougSloan
Apr 26, 2002 1:59 PM
Not dumb questions, even if rehashed.Leisure
Apr 28, 2002 2:11 AM
I think it's good you're paying attention to what you feel while trying to stay objective. There are tons of things that go into how bikes feel. However, you're probably better served continuing to research on the build of your frames than listening to detached speculation (mine, at least). You guys sounds objective and observant; you'll figure the right answer out on your own better than most people can tell you. I for one have never sat down and specifically compared the feel of different aluminum road frames. Way back when I did such for mtb hardtails and was surprised with the difference I could feel through those fat 2.1" tires. Remember tires (+ tire pressure) and seats also make a difference in feel. I don't think the smoothness of the hubs will be a big factor unless one wheelset is way overdue for overhaul, though. I like carbon forks and think they generally are worthwhile. I couldn't speculate on high-end aluminum bikes, though. I came into road riding specifically looking at steel and Ti, so I didn't test ride aluminum enough nor know how "high-end" aluminum companies will prioritize ride quality or compliance. Since aluminum has a rap for being harsh but light, I'd figger companies making aluminum high-end would prioritize on race applications--lighter and stiffer. I wouldn't expect compliance to enter the equation. Just an off-the-wall speculation. I could easily be wrong.